How freshness defines the quality perception of baked goods

15 Aug 2019

Trend Updates

The freshness of a product has a big impact on consumers’ perception of quality. To determine product freshness, they use all their senses: smell, sight and touch. But the latest Taste Tomorrow survey also showed that the definitions of freshness are evolving, and it revealed new criteria that impact consumers' perception of quality. Learn more about the evolving freshness trend.

Taste Tomorrow: a foodstep into the future

Taste Tomorrow is the world’s largest bakery, patisserie and chocolate consumer survey. It gathers data from over 17,000 consumers in over 40 countries and leads to fresh insights about health, taste, convenience, experience, digital trends and more. The latest survey reveals nine key worldwide trends, one of which is ‘freshness’.

Consumers expect their food to be fresher in the future

Freshness was and still is a crucial element for consumers. Almost half of all consumers worldwide expect freshness to stay at the same level as today, and three out of ten expect food to become even fresher in the future. After a negative trend between 2011 and 2015 consumers are now regaining their trust in future food freshness, but they are still not as optimistic as in "2011" .

A new definition of freshness

The definition of freshness has also evolved since 2015. Consumers continue to use their senses to determine product freshness: through smell, sight (the overall appearance, but also seeing the product being made) and touch (the crunchiness of the product).

    But the survey of 2019 showed also a new criterion that consumers use to judge the freshness of baked goods. They now also associate freshness with the expiration date, or shelf life: the time that a product can be stored without becoming unfit for consumption. This relates directly to how far away in time the product is from the moment it was made.

Freshness defines quality perception

The growing importance of the expiration date in the perception of freshness made us curious: how does this impact consumers’ perception of packaged and frozen food versus fresh food? Do consumers perceive any differences in quality? The survey reveals that the answer is yes.

    86% of consumers clearly perceive fresh food to be of better quality than packaged or frozen food (this is true for food in general). The gap is actually quite large as only 33% of consumers think that packaged food is of good quality and 40% think that frozen food is of good quality.

Key take-aways from the ‘freshness’ trend

Summarising the ‘freshness’ trend, we can say that freshness defines the quality perception of a product. To radiate freshness, it’s important that you enable your customers to experience freshness with all their senses. This means: the smell of freshly baked products, a crunchy look, seeing where and when the product is made, and having a short shelf life.

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